So my father is a writer and he publishes a blog and being a pastor, in the vein of the one with fire shut up in his bones, he often writes of spiritual things. A few weeks ago, he shared the story of the garden with his readers, and while it's infused with spiritual wisdom, he left out a funny, and albeit, less-significant part of the story. Can't let him get away with that, now can we?
Read *I Want That* here.
If my math is correct (it might or might not be), I was either two or three years old at the time of the garden. To be entirely honest, I'm not completely sure if I remember this because I remember it or if I remember it because the tale of it has been recounted in my presence so very many times. When your life is a constant source for sermon material, sometimes the two run together. Nonetheless, for me, this is one of those life-defining stories.
We lived in Texarkana, Arkansas in the brown house on Mimosa Drive. I was still an only child at that time and would remain so for quite a while (the glory days). My dad put in the garden up on the hill--I remember climbing that hill, struggling, reaching up for his hand. Always there.
I'm sure there was more to the garden than radishes and watermelons...but those are the things a little girl remembers. Radishes...red, dirty radishes...easy to dig up out of the earth and plenteous. How awesome to find little red balls of goodness right there in the dirt. And watermelon.
Well, it's a funny thing about watermelons. Did you know that you can plant the watermelon seeds one night and go back to the garden and find a fully-grown monster of a watermelon waiting on you the very next night? You didn't? Where have you been gardening?
Well, when you are a tiny girl who hangs on her father's every word and whim, that's exactly what happens. With great care, you cultivate the dirt, dig the hole and drop in the seeds. You cover the seeds with more dirt and rain down water from a bucket or a coffee can upon them. In your heart, you pray over them and in your dreams you see the mountains of big, green, drippy, sweet watermelons that are sure to come!
So maybe you can anticipate what happened. My dad and I planted the seeds and talked of the mountains of watermelons that would surely be forthcoming with immediacy. We tinkered in the garden til the sun went down and inside we went.
And the next day, as the story goes, an idea happened to light upon my devious father's shoulder. How funny would it be...to acquire a fully-developed watermelon and "plant" it in the garden for the pleasure of watching the daughter's eyes bug out of her head upon it's discovery?
And that's exactly what he proceeded to do. Sneakily, he carted a fully-developed store-bought watermelon up the hill to the garden and stuck it right where we had planted the seeds and then with equal sneakiness, he came into the house and suggested that we should go up to the garden to check on it's progress.
Daddys are devious and sneaky, don't you know.
And apparently, they truly love to see a little girl's eyes bug out of her head in surprise...and on that day, on the hill, I did not disappoint.
I'm going to Texas for a visit in a few weeks...gonna spend a little time around the table with my family and no doubt, by tradition, there will be watermelon. Cold, drippy, sweet, red watermelon with seeds. And salt. Spread out over a table covered with newspaper at an attempt to contain the inevitable mess. And there will be debate over whether you should eat watermelon with a fork or a spoon and undoubtedly, someone will spit a seed or twenty...and get the evil eye from my mom for it.
And Dad will sit back and watch the grandsons (all three) with that twinkle in his eye...and I will quietly wonder what kind of devious plan he's hatching up for no other reason than to see their eyes bug out of their heads in pure surprise and the magic that comes with being called "Pawpaw". <3